The Healing Power of Philanthropy

ziebol296_Edited“I will never forget answering the phone and hearing the nurse tell me that my children were in a terrible accident,” says Lesa Hess.

In July 2013, Lesa bid her children farewell as they pulled out of their Burnsville home for a road trip to El Paso, Texas to visit their grandparents. What was supposed to be a fun sibling adventure took a disastrous turn when the vehicle the Ziebols were driving crossed the centerline and was hit by a semi.

The crash killed 19-year-old Taylor Ziebol, the vehicle’s driver, and left 17-year-old Shannon Ziebol and 15-year-old Adam Ziebol in critical condition.

Lesa, her husband James and her brother-in-law, Duane, were offered a flight in a family friend’s private plane and were in Dodge City, Kansas just a few hours later. The family left with the just the clothes on their back, intent on just one thing—getting to Shannon and Adam.

When they arrived in Dodge City, they were overwhelmed by an outpouring of support from the hospital and the community.

“When we got off the plane we were in still in shock—we didn’t know what to do first—but we were so well taken care of,” recalls Duane.

The family was met at the airport with a free rental vehicle for the duration of their stay in Kansas. The hospital arranged a nearby hotel room. The nursing staff offered to wash their clothes and kept them fed, bringing in hot meals on a regular rotation. Each act of kindness allowed the Ziebols to focus on the most important task—caring for Shannon and Adam.

After the Ziebol family returned to Minnesota, they began to look for ways to honor Taylor’s memory, celebrate Shannon and Adam’s strength and courage  and support other families in need close to home.

“We knew that we wanted to be able to help other families, like ours, reeling from a recent catastrophe with their basic needs, including food, shelter and transportation,” says Duane. Duane and his wife Candis, along with Lesa and James, approached Fairview Ridges Hospital to establish a philanthropic fund to do just that. Within just a few short months, the Ziebol Family Hospital Crisis Fund was created within Fairview Foundation.

Along the way, they discovered that while they made their generous gift to help others, the act of giving also helped the Ziebol family a bit as well. They found a sense of hope and healing through their gift.

“It really helps you process the grief when you can do something to keep their memory alive and living in your heart,” says Candis.

To support the Ziebol Family Hospital Crisis Fund and other important initiatives, visit

Boy Scout Crafts New Cutting Board

Jen Swanson, an occupational therapist at Fairview-Southdale Hospital, is always looking for ways to help her patients become more independent.

When she noticed one of her recovering stroke patients, Alex, struggle to use a cutting board, she knew she needed to find a special board that would allow him to continue making his own meals.

“He has to do everything one-handed, but quality single-handed cutting boards are very expensive, “Swanson said.

In the midst of the dilemma, Alex came forward and suggested a local Boy Scout could create the cutting board as a part of a community service project.

Swanson turned to local Boy Scout troops, searching for someone who could take on the project.

Fortunately, Will Kerwin, an Edina Boy Scout, needed a project to achieve his goal of becoming an Eagle Scout.

“It was perfect timing,” Kerwin said, “I liked the originality of the project and just fell in love with it.”

Will and Alex with the new cutting board.

Will and Alex with the new cutting board.

Improving the design

When Swanson first approached Kerwin’s Boy Scout Troop in January, Kerwin said he felt some trepidation about taking on a unique and challenging project.

“A lot of kids just do food drives, this project required a lot of wood work – precise woodwork,” Kerwin said.

Kerwin enlisted the help of one of his former scout masters, who had a wood working shop in his basement. The scout master worked with him on the project through its completion.

Kerwin fashioned the new cutting board out of high-quality maple wood, then inserted two stainless steel spokes that can hold food in place for users while they cut with their able hand. He finished the board off with beeswax to “keep it looking good.”

“It was such a relief to finally finish it and see the benefit it could possibly have for people,” he said.

A Unique Benefit

Kerwin, along with five other scouts, made 24 cutting boards and donated them to Fairview’s Edina Clinic. The supply could easily last four years, Kerwin said.

Swanson said she plans to share the boards throughout the Fairview System.

“It wouldn’t be right for me to keep them all in Edina, I want to share the wealth and show people the amazing, detailed work that Will put into this project,” she said,

For Kerwin, the highlight of the project came when he finally saw Alex test out his new design in July.

“It warmed me inside,” he said. “It was really cool to see how useful the board was and how it could be such a unique benefit to people in the community.”

Is it possible to train your bladder?

Is it possible to train your bladder? We asked Steven Bernstein, MD from the Fairview Center for Bladder Control about whether your bladder is smart enough to learn new tricks.


According to Dr. Bernstein, the bladder isn’t smart enough to learn new tricks but it can improve on the ones it already knows. The only type of “tricks” or actions the bladder can really do is to relax to store urine and contract to get rid of it. The voluntary sphincter, or “potty training” muscle, only does the same actions.

Before embarking on an aggressive program of bladder training we recommend a bit of investigation into the actual problem and then focusing energy and resources directly at the source. This energy might include some work strengthening some muscle or even, possibly, learning to relax some muscle. Once again, the accurate diagnosis of the problem is key to achieving results!

Do you have more questions about bladder control? Contact the Fairview Center for Bladder Control at or visit their website:


Fairview Center for Bladder Control is devoted to diagnosing, managing and treating women’s bladder issues including urinary incontinence, voiding issues, pelvic prolapse and recurrent urinary tract infections. Our specialized staff provides a high level of service in a compassionate, professional environment.

We consider the complete needs of each patient and then use the most up-to-date treatment methods to achieve the best possible outcomes.


What you need to know about Ebola

While the tragic outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa continues to generate media attention, there have been no new cases of the virus in the United States, and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reports the risk in Minnesota is low.

GlobeHowever, Fairview is continuing to monitor health alerts issued locally and nationally. In the unlikely event that the need arises, we are prepared to implement plans for dealing with patients with suspected Ebola virus.

What is it?

Ebola virus is spread by direct contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids or by contact with contaminated objects or infected animals.

Symptoms may include sudden onset of fever and malaise, achiness, headache, vomiting or diarrhea.

Keep in mind, Ebola is one of several serious infections that can be acquired during international travel. Travelers to other parts of the world face various risks, including:

  • MERS from the Middle East
  • Avian Flu from Asia and other parts of the world
  • Chikungunya from the Caribbean

Any patient with a possible infectious disease will be asked about his or her travel history, and special screening tools and precautions may be used.

Guidance for travelers

Many Minnesota residents may travel to or have relatives visit from West Africa.

Although the incubation period for Ebola can be as long as 21 days, neither the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nor the MDH recommend that people refrain from going back to work after travel to these countries.

However, pay attention to your own health after returning from West Africa and follow these guidelines from the CDC:

  1. Monitor your health for 10 days if you were in an area with an Ebola outbreak but were not in contact with blood or body fluids, items that have come in contact with blood or body fluids, animals or raw meat, or hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated.
  2. Monitor your health for 21 days if you think you might have been exposed to Ebola.
  3. Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever, headache, achiness, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, rash or red eyes.
  4. Call ahead and tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms before you visit a clinic or emergency department. Advance notice will help your doctor care for you and protect other people at the clinic or emergency department.


5 ways to keep off the pounds while quitting tobacco

When quitting tobacco, many people struggle with weight gain. Use these five simple tips to avoid weight gain and maintain a healthy lifestyle while you quit tobacco.


  1. Go for a walk. Try to go for a 30-minute walk each day. If you don’t think you can do all 30 minutes at once, break it up into a few small walks each day.
  2. Be prepared. Plan each day so you have healthy snack options available and at the ready when those munchies hit.
  3. Spice things up. Spicy foods increase your metabolism and the spices tend to make people eat slower (which can lead to eating smaller amounts).
  4. Brush your teeth—or chew minty gum. That fresh minty feeling in your mouth will make you less likely to give in to cravings (or a cigarette).
  5. Write it down. It is easy to forget all the things we eat and drink. Writing down what you are putting in your mouth each day is a great eye-opener!

Ready to kick the habit? Join our Exhale tobacco cessation program.

We all know tobacco is bad for our health, but we also know it’s hard to quit. We want to help you reach your goal. Fairview Clinics, Fairview Physician Associates and University of Minnesota Health are proud to help by offering tobacco cessation classes. Learn more at